I love camping and the challenge of coming up with healthy camping food ideas! You could say I am a seasoned camper. Hubby and I spent months on end backpacking through Europe, Alaska, Canada, the U.S and Central America with our camping gear stuffed into our backpacks. We have been camping with our kids since they were 6 months old (oh the fun of breastfeeding and settling a crying baby in a dark tent!). As our children have grown our camping style is a little different but still fairly minimalistic. You can read more about how camping makes me a better mum here
We recently went camping to Robe in the southeast of South Australia for a week and I wanted to share what I packed and some of the healthy camping food ideas that I came up with. We had access to power and took a Jayco camper trailer which has a 4 burner stove top.
Here are my tips
Before You Go
Come up with a rough meal plan and make sure you have the bulk of the ingredients for the meals you want to make.
Pre make some meals and snacks, I made a batch of bliss balls, simialr to these
and a Big batch of beef chilli ( I make this almost every camping trip as it is a great way to use up any vegetables that need to be cleared out of the fridge before you go away)
Healthy camping food ideas – Beef chilli recipe
500g grass fed beef mince
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, sliced finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
6 sticks celery, sliced finely
3 zucchini, chopped finely
1/2 bunch kale, chopped finely
2 teaspoons each of ground paprika, cumin and corriander
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jar tomato passata (700ml)
1 tin kidney beans, drained
- Heat a large pan and sautee onions, celery and carrots. Add beef mince and brown. Add zucchini and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add garlic, spices, tomato paste and kale. Cook until fragrant then add the tomato passata. Simmer over low to medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the kidney beans.
- Top with chilli flakes (I add these when serving as my kids don’t like spice!), yoghurt or sour cream and fresh corriander (all optional)
- Serve on own, with brown rice or corn chips.
Pack a big esky and food box with healthy, fresh ingredients, we have one like this, which keeps things cold and frozen for days
- Focus on hardy fruit and vegetables – We took sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, capsicum, cucumber, onion, garlic, apples, oranges, lemons as well as some less hardy leafy greens and bananas which I packed carefully.
- Grass fed protein – Frozen chicken thighs (stored in a pyrex container), Bacon, Eggs
- Tins of wild salmon and cannelini beans
- Raw nuts and seeds – almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds
- Rice crackers, corn chips, brown rice, rolled oats
- Tomato paste and puree
- Homemade frozen chicken broth
- Milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Olive oil, coconut oil, spices such as cinnamon, paprika and cumin, salt and pepper
- Herbal teas and real coffee
Pack lunch and snacks for the road, I packed
- Chicken and salad mountain bread wraps
- Fresh fruit
- Containers of raw nuts
- Cut up raw vegetables (another way to clear the fridge before you go)
While you are away
Make a nutritious breakfast every morning to give everyone a good start to the day, we had porridge with lots of nuts and seeds, milk and honey some mornings and bacon and eggs other mornings.
When you go out for the day take fresh food snacks and pack lunch. We went on outings most days and I took a combination of cucumbers, carrots, apples, strawberries, bananas, rice crackers, corn chips and avocado,cheese, boiled eggs, nuts and bliss balls. We did eat fish and chips on the beach one day and had an icecream one afternoon but ate healthy, whole foods most of the time.
Make 2 meals at a time. You don’t want to spend your ‘holiday’ cooking so be time savvy. I made a sweet potato and bacon soup one night that lasted us for 2 dinners and 1 lunch.
Keep up your fresh food stocks. Visit farmers markets, fruit and veg shops or supermarkets to always make sure you have fresh food that is easily accessible.
Make the most of produce that is local to the area you are visiting.
Do you have a favourite recipe you make when you are camping? I would love to hear about it in the comments.